The History and Technology of Neon Lights: How They Work and Why They Matter
From bars and restaurants to corporate logos for offices or just for your bedroom decoration, custom neon signs are the raging look nowadays. The neon signs are colorful and appealing and instantly alter the atmosphere and create a more energetic look. The neon signboards in offices provide a contemporary but retro look.
Neon lights in your household decor add a distinctive zing to your decor and make the house look more lively. Of course, you could create a faux custom neon sign and utilize the assistance of plenty of tutorials for DIY. But have you ever wondered how natural neon lights work? How do they get so bright and vivid? What is the process that produces stunning colors? Let’s dive in.
What exactly is a neon light?
First of all, what do you mean by neon lighting? Neon lighting is the use of electrified glass tubes or bulbs which emit a brilliant glow. The glass tubes and bulbs are filled with rarefied neon gas. What exactly are rarefied gases? It means that the gas is condensed to an amount lower than atmospheric pressure. This allows for the encapsulation of the gases contained in the tiny tubes or bulbs. Neon light bulbs are a form of gas discharge cold cathode light.
The tube of neon with gas inside is properly sealed by using cathodes of metal at each end. These cathode strips provide electricity that can ionize the gas within the tube. The electrons from these ions then move toward the lamp’s terminals and, in turn, complete the electrical circuit. If the ions of neon have enough charge and gain enough energy to trigger by light, they release light.
This is dependent on the motion of particles in different energy states. When an atom jumps from one level of energy to another, it emits energy. Therefore when the ionized atoms of the neon gas in the bulb change from a higher energy level to a lower one, it releases an electron (i.e. the light), and the bulb begins to glow. The gas contained in the bulb determines the color of the photon.
Let’s break it down to get it down more thoroughly.
They use neon because of this. What is the mechanism that works?
They’re also known as neon lights. This is because the noble gas ‘neon’ naturally releases an orange-colored light when it goes through this process. At the same time, the other colors need to be produced using various chemicals and gases. This is why the name came to be. We’ll now take a look at the details.
Perhaps you are thinking about why neon is being used specifically for this purpose. Why is neon used instead of other gases, such as oxygen or nitrogen? Since it is a noble gas and neon is the most popular. Noble gases have the unique property that every electron in atoms is filled. So, they are non-reactive. To take an electron out of this filled shell, a large amount of energy must be supplied to these particles to make them excited. neon lights, often referred to as customized neon lights make use of either an alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC). However, the light glows only on one electrode when using direct current. This is the reason that neon lights generally use alternating currents for emitting light.
Now the tube within which the gas is present has electrodes on both sides of the tube. If electricity is applied to the cathode terminals (an electrical voltage of nearly 15,000 volts is required to be used), the energy required to separate an outer electron from the electron shell of neon atoms is provided. If the voltage used is not sufficient the energy needed to allow electrons to escape will not be sufficient to allow the process to take place.
If enough kinetic energy is provided, the positively charged atoms move toward the negative terminal. The free electrons (that is those that are negatively charged) will pull toward the positive end. Plasma is the fourth form of matter and is the final stage in the electric circuit.
What’s the best method of producing light?
We now know the whole process by which a neon tube charges and generates energy. The light comes from where? The tube’s atoms are moving when they are excited by gaining energy and striking each other. Also, they exchange energy constantly.
Therefore, they have a higher energy level. However, that isn’t the normal configuration of atoms. To return to their original condition, they’ll attempt to shed energy. They have to first let the energy they have stored. When they do so they release the energy into photons (light), and that is how light is produced by these neon tubes. The color, as we have already mentioned, is dependent on the chemical nature of the gas.
It is also dependent on the energy level at which the atom released the energy. An atom can exist in a variety of levels of energy. Depending on the energy level at which a particle releases energy to return to its state of origin as well as the distance between these levels and the color of particles of light that it emits will change.
Simply put, every exuberant electron emits a wavelength that is part of the photon. The color of every excited electron’s photon changes accordingly. Each noble gas has its distinct color. For instance, neon emits an orange-red light, while helium gas has an orange glow.
A custom neon sign can be made in many designs and shades. Signs like these are typically used as decorative wall art in bars and restaurants. Even offices are increasingly employing custom neon signs to brighten their workplaces and make the office environment high-spirited and exuberant.
Neon lights are a bit similar to fluorescent lights as well. Although fluorescent lighting was developed around 25 years before neon lighting, it is still used to produce brilliant white light. In addition, neon lighting is utilized in plasma displays as well as neon glow lamps. Neon lights in recent times have also become an art style popular in Europe and the USA.